James Wolfe had been the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Security Director for 29 years. He is now indicted by the DOJ for lying to the FBI about contacts he had with reporters, and about giving reporters nonpublic information from the Intelligence Committee. The indictment does not specifically charge him with the leaks, just the lying.
The indictment is for 3 counts of violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, each count is punishable by 5 years in prison if convicted.
Mr. Wolfe had a three year relationship with reporter Ali Watkins of the New York Times. They reported that the feds have seized her emails and phone records from even before she worked at the paper, but according to the Times, did not seize the actual content of those records.
This story concerns a reporter’s work @BuzzFeedNews. We are deeply troubled by what looks like a case of law enforcement interfering with a reporter’s constitutional right to gather information about her own government. https://t.co/5nus2syio3take our poll - story continues below
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) June 8, 2018
He had “extensive contact” with reporters about Carter Page, a Trump Campaign adviser.
Wolfe was allegedly in contact with “REPORTER #2” [Watkins]and they exchanged tens of thousands of electronic communications and often daily phone calls. He would also meet at the reporter’s apartment, court papers alleged.
Wolfe had extensive contact with reporters about “MALE-1,” who was reportedly identified as Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.
Wolfe received classified information about “MALE-1” on the same day he exchanged 82 text messages with “REPORTER #2,” according to the indictment. A few weeks later, “REPORTER #2” published an online article that revealed the identity of “MALE-1.”
On April 3, 2017, Watkins’ byline appeared on a BuzzFeed article that revealed that Page had met with a Russian intelligence operative in 2013.
Wolfe allegedly called “REPORTER #2” nearly a half-hour after the story went live and had a phone conversation for about seven minutes.
In December 2017, Wolfe allegedly messaged “REPORTER #2.”
“I’ve watched your career take off even before you ever had a career in journalism. … I always tried to give you as much Information (sic) that I could and to do the right thing with it so you could get that scoop before anyone else. … I always enjoyed the way that you would pursue a story,like nobody else was doing in my hal1way (sic). I felt like I was part of your excitement and was always very supportive of your career and the tenacity that you exhibited to chase down a good story,” the message read, according to the indictment.
Watkins worked previously for BuzzFeed, Politico and McClatchy.
Both parties deny any wrong-doing during their relationship. The Wall Street Journal stated that it is “concerning” that the government obtained Watkins private communications, and claims she notified the NYT of her relationship to Wolfe when she started at the paper.
The is the 2nd time that a “relationship” has been at the core of controversy. The first was Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in the FBI with hatred for Trump during an investigation.
James Wolfe claims he did not release any classified information to Watkins, but he did release “nonpublic” information. He had to know what he was doing was unethical, because he used two encrypted Apps, WhatsApp and Signal, as well as using “clandestine” places within the Hart building in DC to contact reporters.
When NBC News spoke to Jim Wolfe yesterday, he was asked whether law enforcement had reached out to him. He flat out lied, telling me “No.” https://t.co/UclFT7MACH
— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) June 8, 2018
He is scheduled to make his court appearance on Friday.
You can read the indictment here:
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